What is Milk Cotton Yarn? And How Is It Produced? • RaffamusaDesigns (2023)

Have you ever heard about milk cotton yarn? Or are you just heck, what is milk cotton yarn?

Well, today, I would like to share with you how I came to find out about milk cotton yarn and try to answer some questions, such as how do you get from milk to yarn? Or is it really an eco-friendly and sustainable fiber?

It All Started with Some Second-Hand Yarn

Some months ago, I was searching for second-hand yarn deals on the Facebook Marketplace. I sometimes do it because well, why not? I am a regular yarn addict after all! So, that day I found a nice lady from Den Haag who was selling some yarn in the cutest colors. She was advertising the yarn as “Milk Cotton“, and assuming that it was just cotton yarn, I went ahead and purchased it.

When I received the yarn, it was such a beautiful surprise to see how incredibly soft and squishy it was. It was kind of difficult to believe that it was pure cotton.
From touching the yarn, my guess was that it was a mix of cotton and acrylic.

However, since the label was entirely in Chinese, it was difficult to really find out the exact composition.

So, I asked Google. I scanned the text in Google Translate, and Google translated it for me.

The result was:

50% long-staple cotton, 30% of silk cotton, 20% milk cotton, and 10% of moisture regain

What is Milk Cotton Yarn? And How Is It Produced? • RaffamusaDesigns (1)

Obviously, the last 10% is not a component of the yarn. Instead, it is an indication of the amount of moisture present in the dry material.

(Video) Crochet Puff Strawberry Applique Tutorial | Crochet Strawberry | Chenda DIY

So, overall, the label seemed to only mention milk and cotton as ingredients of this yarn. Which got me even more intrigued.

What is Milk Cotton Yarn?

After a quick Google search, I found that milk is indeed at the base of the production of milk cotton. To be precise, milk cotton is derived from the casein present in the milk.

If you’re not an expert, casein is a general name for a group of slightly different milk proteins, which, altogether account for the vast majority of milk proteins.

Most web resources talk about milk cotton as a soft fiber with bacteriostatic, breathable, absorbent, thermo-regulating, and hydrating properties.

Milk Cotton Through the Years

The production of milk cotton first started in Italy and in the US in the early 1930s. At the time, it was possible to buy milk fibers under the commercial names Lanital, Merinova, and Aralac.

The peak of the popularity of milk fibers was up until World War II. After that, the production of fully synthetic fibers took off and milk fibers were put in a closet.

In more recent years, milk cotton is living a new revival. There are mainly two reasons why milk fibers are living a second life today.

The first one is that milk cotton is hypoallergenic. So, many people with allergies seek pure milk textiles as an alternative to wool and other fibers.

Eco-Friendly and Sustainable

The second reason why milk cotton is living its new popularity is that its production is 100% sustainable.

In fact, since 2004, the milk fiber industries have the Oeko-Tek Standard 100 certificate. Having this certificate means that the process that they perform has no impact on the environment.

(Video) How to Crochet Sunflower (Easy & Fast) - Step by Step Tutorial | 钩针向日葵 [ENG SUB]

Since I have a green heart myself, I was very excited to read about this.

However, always wanting to find out more, I was curious to know how this 100% sustainable process makes possible to go from milk proteins to yarn.

So, I did some more research on the web to try and find out as much as possible about the production of milk fibers.

How is Milk Cotton Produced?

As we already said, milk cotton is derived from the casein proteins of the milk. However, although milk proteins are natural products, milk cotton is not entirely a natural fiber. Because casein is not a fiber, there must be a chemical process to transform it into one.

The Italian chemist Antonio Ferretti first invented the manufacturing process of milk fibers around 1936. Almost at the same time, also in the US, manufacturers were producing similar fibers like the ones by Mr. Ferretti.

You can read more about the production of milk fibers in the patents protecting the initial invention.

In short, the process starts with the denaturation of casein in an alkaline bath, usually an aqueous solution of urea.
If you are not familiar with proteins and have no clue what “denaturing a protein” means, here’s a quick example. You can think of a protein as a beautiful skein of yarn, properly folded, and with a determined shape. Now, if you leave your cat/dog or little kid alone with the skein for less than a minute, you might go back to find a pile of deform wool. Well, that’s the equivalent of a denatured protein!

Back to the milk cotton production. After the denaturation of casein, there is a coagulation step in an acid bath, which results in a very dense thingy. After some pressing, the dense thingy becomes fibers.

What is Milk Cotton Yarn? And How Is It Produced? • RaffamusaDesigns (2)

Casein Fibers are Not Stable on Their Own

However, these fibers are not stable and usable just like that. That’s why there is an additional tanning step with aluminum salts and formaldehyde.


Formaldehyde does not exactly sound like a nice, eco-friendly chemical. All the opposite of that. Quoting the American Cancer Society,

“Exposure to formaldehyde has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory test animals. Exposure to relatively high amounts of formaldehyde in medical and occupational settings has been linked to some types of cancer in humans, but the effect of exposure to small amounts is less clear.”

The Modern Production Process

Luckily, the process is now a bit different and does not involve formaldehyde anymore. Nowadays, acrylonitrile replaces the formaldehyde.

Acrylonitrile is not the nicest chemical around either. You can read quite a lot about its health and environmental hazard in this document by the World Health Organization. Nevertheless, milk fibers are not the only ones that require acrylonitrile for their production. Basically, the production of all acrylic fibers makes use of acrylonitrile. Does this make it less bad? To me, it rather raises another question that “are acrylic fibers environmentally sustainable”? But that is going to be for another post.

Back to the production of milk cotton. One last thing to mention is that in the modern process, zinc replaced aluminum, which explains the bacteriostatic properties of milk cotton.

Milk Cotton is a Semi-Synthetic Fiber

After reading more about these production steps, it would be more accurate to define milk cotton as a semi-synthetic fiber.

Is Milk Cotton Really Eco-Friendly?

Recently, several producers claimed that they figured out a milk cotton production process that does not include acrylonitrile. A process that does not involve acrylonitrile would actually be eco-friendly and sustainable. However, nobody made their natural process public, so it is difficult to know the difference with the old process.

So, before we can answer the question if milk cotton is really eco-friendly, we will have to wait until the new process is shared with the public.

Concluding Remarks

After discussing the entire production process, I still have some more fundamental questions regarding the sustainability of milk fibers.

In particular, I wonder how sustainable can it be to use milk for the production of yarn and fabric?

(Video) How To Crochet Granny Square Bucket Hat🎩🌛⭐👒| Kait Topi

For now, milk fibers are only a niche product. However, if more people were to buy milk-based clothes and fabrics, should we worry about the amount of milk that we would need to keep up with higher market demands?

In one interview with Bio Market Insights, the CEO and founder of Qmilk Anke Domaske stated that the fiber that they produce only uses waste milk proteins. So, they do not subtract any milk from the food chain.

I guess this is a good consolation. Nevertheless, shouldn’t we aim at reducing milk consumption overall?

I’d Like to Know Your Opinion

Well, I am going to stop wondering and asking questions for now. Please, leave a comment below to share your opinion about milk cotton.

Where Can you Buy Milk Cotton?

In case you would like to try out some milk cotton, I found that Rowan offers some Milk Cotton Fine.

For the rest, it seems to be very difficult to purchase in Europe.

Since most producers are located in China, they either do not deliver to Europe or are not entirely reliable.

I also found some milk cotton sellers on Etsy as well but the shop reviews were not very encouraging.

So, my suggestion is to search for some local sellers that you trust.

Further Readings

For some further reading on milk cotton, I suggest to you this blog post by Exchanging Fire, and this article by Boris Hodakel on seport.com. Both are extremely useful and knowledgable resources.

(Video) A little crochet square -english version-

Posts you might also like…

  • What is Milk Cotton Yarn? And How Is It Produced? • RaffamusaDesigns (4)
  • What is Milk Cotton Yarn? And How Is It Produced? • RaffamusaDesigns (5)
  • What is Milk Cotton Yarn? And How Is It Produced? • RaffamusaDesigns (6)


Why is it called milk cotton? ›

Milk cotton is a type of fabric that is made with the casein powder found in milk. This type of fabric is also called milk fiber or casein fiber, and it has historically been mixed with a number of substances to provide them with a cotton-like texture and tensility.

What weight yarn is milk cotton? ›

Weight:DK / Light
Gauge:22 sts / 10 cm (4")
Balls:50g; 113m (124 yds)
Care:Machine wash (30C)
Styles:Solid colors
3 more rows

What is cotton milk? ›

Cotton milk is an extract of seeds, which contains lipids, proteins and sugars as an emulsion. The gossypol atoxic terpenoid compound having anti- nutritive value, present in the cotton seeds, must be removed to make cotton seed milk fit for human consumption.

How cotton yarns are made? ›

The strands of cotton fibres are twisted together to form yarn. The yarn is placed on the rings of the spinning frame and is allowed to pass through several sets of rollers, which are rotating at a successively higher speed. The yarn is rolled by the rollers and wound up on the desired bobbins.

What does milk cotton yarn mean? ›

As we already said, milk cotton is derived from the casein proteins of the milk. However, although milk proteins are natural products, milk cotton is not entirely a natural fiber. Because casein is not a fiber, there must be a chemical process to transform it into one.

What type of yarn is milk cotton? ›

Milk Cotton yarn has the best of both worlds. It is 80% cotton and 20% acrylic (milk fiber).

Can milk cotton yarn be washed? ›

Milk Cotton yarn has the best of both worlds.
Yarn Specifications
Crochet Hook Size3.0 - 5.0 mm
Knitting Needle Size3.75 - 4.5 mm
CareMachine wash, warm. Do not bleach. Iron, medium. Dryclean, any solvent except trichloroethylene. Dry flat in shade.
5 more rows

Does milk cotton yarn shrink? ›

Cotton yarn may shrink a bit when washed, but it will also stretch quite a bit when worn. Take this into account when considering the projects you choose to make with cotton.

What is milk yarn used for? ›

Milk cotton yarn is perfect for underwear and lingerie, because of the healthy and bacteriostatic nature of milk fiber. Apart from being good for underwear and intimate apparel, it is also used for socks, household textiles and clothing that would be made from wool.

Is milk yarn good? ›

Milk is as strong as silk. It's machine washable, so it's great for baby blankets, baby clothes, etc. Some people also claim the fiber has antibiotic properties and that the proteins are good for the skin.

How yarns are produced? ›

Spun yarn is made by twisting staple fibres together to make a cohesive thread, or "single." Twisting fibres into yarn in the process called spinning can be dated back to the Upper Paleolithic, and yarn spinning was one of the first processes to be industrialized.

What is yarn How is it made a short answer? ›

Yarn is the thread, in the form of a loosely twisted collection of fibers, as of hemp, of which rope is made. It also refers​​​​​​ to thread made of natural or synthetic fibers and used for knitting and weaving.

What is yarn and how it is made? ›

A yarn is a long thread of interlocked fibres. The fibres are first drawn out from their source and then twisted into yarn. This process is called spinning. The devices used in spinning are takli and charkha.

Is milk cotton yarn the same as acrylic yarn? ›

Acrylic yarn is a synthetic fiber that is made from petroleum-based products. It is less expensive than other types of yarn and is easy to care for since it is machine washable and dryable. Cotton yarn, on the other hand, is made from the fibers of the cotton plant. It is very absorbent but can shrink when it is wet.

Where does milk fiber come from? ›

Milk fiber or milk wool is a type of Azlon, a regenerated protein fiber based on the casein protein found in milk.

How long is milk cotton yarn? ›

Milk Cotton Yarn 5-ply | 50g | 95m 104yd | 92 colors available | the yarn I use for my amigurumis | soft on fingers | Anti-pilling.

How do you soften milk cotton yarn? ›

You can use cheap hair conditioner to soak your completed project in warm water for about an hour. Then, give it a quick rinse in cool water and lay flat to dry. The conditioner deposits a thick coating or a resin that smoothes the fibres and fills in the spaces that make them feel scratchy and rough.

Is milk cotton warm? ›

Milk fibre has a type of three-dimensional arrangement. With permeability and humidity resistant properties, the milk fibre when combined with wool and tepid cashmere, turns out to be extremely warm material and is comfortable and healthy. Blends with cotton and cashmere: It is suitable for comfortable undergarments.

Is milk cotton yarn good for amigurumi? ›

Cotton yarn is better than acrylic for amigurumi because of its high stitch definition and high durability. Cotton can be machine washed and is inelastic, making it less likely to stretch out of shape.

What material is milk made? ›

However, most milk is manufactured into more stable dairy products of worldwide commerce, such as butter, cheese, dried milks, ice cream, and condensed milk.

Is cotton yarn good for environment? ›

Using Natural Yarns

These fibers include wool, cotton, silk, bamboo fiber, and banana fiber. Because these yarns contain no synthetic materials, manufacturing them has no negative impact on the environment. They are spun from their natural base fibers, often, by hand with no factories or fuels needed.

What ply is milk cotton yarn? ›

Milk Cotton Yarn 5-ply | 50g | 95m 104yd | 92 colors available | the yarn I use for my amigurumis | soft on fingers | Anti-pilling.

Is milk cotton softer than cotton? ›

The breathable milk shirts are three times smoother and softer than cotton. These shirts will make you feel like you're wearing nothing.

Can cotton yarn be put in the dryer? ›

In general, cotton yarn can be washed and dried. It is sturdy and holds up well. It may shrink a little in the dryer, but also seems to stretch back out with use. If you have a particularly sentimental or intricate project, it's best to play it safe and hand wash in cold, with mild detergent, and lay flat to dry.

What projects can you do with yarn? ›

7 Creative Things You Can Make Using Yarn and Zero Stitches
  • Rainbow Wall Hanging. Add a splash of color to your walls with this cheery rainbow wall hanging. ...
  • Ornaments and Garland. ...
  • Woven Sunset Wall Hanging. ...
  • Pom-Poms. ...
  • Yarn Wreath. ...
  • Woven Gift Wrap. ...
  • Tassels.
19 Sept 2020

What can be crocheted with cotton yarn? ›

What to Crochet With Cotton Yarn
  • Crochet Washcloths.
  • Water bottle cozy and can cozy.
  • Placemats and coasters.
  • Pot Holders and Hot Pads.
  • Dishcloths and Tea Towels.
  • Market Bags and Shopping Bags.
  • Sweaters & other garments.
  • Crochet Earrings and other accessories.
12 Jul 2022

How does a yarn cake work? ›

A yarn cake is a yarn that is wound into a flat 'cake' shape with a flat top and bottom. It's designed to be used as a center-pull ball which is very convenient as it stops the yarn bundle moving or rolling around when knitting or crocheting.

What is the softest type of cotton yarn? ›

Details: Pima cotton is extremely soft, durable and perfect for all sorts of next-to-skin projects.

Is milk cotton good for blankets? ›

Scarves, hats, gloves, and others that don't require quite as much yarn as entire blankets are a great fit for milk cotton projects. If you happen to be lucky enough to work with pure milk fiber yarn, it's great for anything worn close to the skin, particularly around your neck.

Which yarn is best for sweaters? ›

The best yarn weights for sweaters are DK, worsted, bulky and super bulky. There are some amazing sweaters knit or crochetd from fingering or sport weight yarns as well, but the most common weights are a bit heavier.

Can you make yarn out of milkweed? ›

Blending & Spinning Milkweed

Milkweed seedpod fiber, or floss, tends to create a brittle yarn when spun alone. But blending the floss with another fiber such as wool or cotton will add structural strength to the shimmering milkweed fiber.

What is the most comfortable yarn? ›

Cashmere: The softest and fluffiest yarn of them all, but is also rather expensive and not that strong.

Which yarn is most durable? ›

Wool – Also known as the queen of yarns, this is the top choice of knitters for their projects. Obtained from sheep and certain other animals, it is one of the most durable fiber types.

What are the two process of making yarn? ›

The two main processes of making fabric from yarn are weaving and knitting.

What is the process of making yarn called? ›

The process of making yarn from the fibre is called as spinning. In this process, fibres from a mass of cotton, wool are drawn out and twisted. This brings the fibre together to form a yarn.

How many types of yarns are there? ›

Yarns can be described as single, or one-ply; ply, plied, or folded; or as cord, including cable and hawser types.

What is yarn Class 6 short answer? ›

Yarns are made up of thin strands called fibres. The process of making yam from fibres is called spinning. In this process, a mass of cotton wool are drawn out and twisted. This brings the fibres together to form yarn.

What is yarn and its types? ›

The three basic classifications of textile yarn include staple fiber yarn, which uses mostly short natural fibers to make yarn; ply yarns, which involve one or more strands of staple fiber yarn wound together; and filament yarn, which is wound from one or more long continuous filaments.

What is called a yarn? ›

ˈyärn. : a continuous often plied strand composed of either natural or man-made fibers or filaments and used in weaving and knitting to form cloth. : a similar strand of another material (such as metal, glass, or plastic) [from the idiom spin a yarn "to tell a tale"] : a narrative of adventures.

What are the three types of yarn? ›

Yarn fibers fall into three main categories: Animal Fibers, Plant Fibers, and Synthetic Fibers. Each group varies in price, usability, and care.

Who invented milk fabric? ›

First produced and patented in Italy in 1935 by Antonio Ferretti and sold under the name Lanital, milk fiber was created under an Italian national self sufficiency drive and was intended to capitalize on previous successes with rayon. Milk fibers enjoyed a brief period of success in the 1930s and 1940s.

What kind of material is milk fiber? ›

Milk fiber is a blend of casein protein and the chemical acrylonitrile, which is used to make acrylic. It's made using a process that is similar to rayon/viscose, but because it's a regenerated protein fiber and not a regenerated cellulose fiber, it reacts like wool.

Is milk fabric biodegradable? ›

The fabrics made from milk fibre are also biodegradable meaning that ecologically they are good for the planet as well.

Is milk cotton yarn itchy? ›

These yarn qualities typically don't itch

Milk Yarn. Silk Yarn. Viscous yarn. Acrylic Yarn.


1. Easy Crochet Smile Emoji Square Tutorial | Crochet Smiley Face Granny Square
(Molina DIY)
2. Cottagecore Crochet Tutorial: Strawberry Purse
3. crochet handbag 👜
4. strawberry 🍓 :) #crochet
(claire crochets)
5. Первая покупка пряжи на новом месте | Новый узор | Ковер мозаичным вязанием
(Katerina Bro)
6. 👻 Crochet Ghost Coaster 👻 Easy Beginner Friendly Cute DIY Halloween Tutorial
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Neely Ledner

Last Updated: 04/28/2023

Views: 5856

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (42 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Neely Ledner

Birthday: 1998-06-09

Address: 443 Barrows Terrace, New Jodyberg, CO 57462-5329

Phone: +2433516856029

Job: Central Legal Facilitator

Hobby: Backpacking, Jogging, Magic, Driving, Macrame, Embroidery, Foraging

Introduction: My name is Neely Ledner, I am a bright, determined, beautiful, adventurous, adventurous, spotless, calm person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.